Juni, on Wednesday

by DanWolgemuth on October 5, 2018

It was in mid-August when Mary and I sat with our calendars and worked through an intense Fall schedule. Six Regional Leadership Conferences, all scheduled on weekends, a national Youth For Christ golf event, again, on a weekend. Three board meetings… etc.

Our objective in August was to find open days during the week that I could block to enable some rest and recovery. Wednesday of this week was one of those days.

What had not yet impacted our calendar was surgery for two of our grandsons. Desmond and Abe are brothers, and they both needed to have their tonsils removed… and the optimal day was Wednesday. The collision course with my calendar came with Desmond’s and Abe’s little sister, Juni. Mary would be at the hospital to provide love and support, and I emerged as the single best option for my 22-month-old granddaughter.

Juni spent Tuesday night at our house so that Mary could be out the door early on her way to the hospital. That meant that at 7:30, when the sunshine in Denver splashed across Juni’s face, the hands that would rescue her from the crib were mine.

She looked puzzled when I pulled her out of the crib. Not like she didn’t recognize me, but more like I must be a temporary place holder on the way to authentic and competent care. A look like, “Where’s Emmie?”

But alas, I was it.

Juni didn’t shed any tears, she just consistently looked at me with eyes that conveyed her lack of confidence in my competence. Maybe she was simply playing back how I looked. Honestly, I felt both overqualified and underqualified at the same time.

Juni’s only requirement was that I was present, available, attentive, responsive and supportive to her every request. And I was. For a single day, I was.

Throughout the day I thought about the effortless way that Mary cares for our grandchildren. Like a skier on a slope who glides from side to side. While I felt more like the beginner who crouches and cringes their way to the bottom in an awkward snowplow position. I got to the destination, but it wasn’t pretty.

And then my thoughts progressed to households that Juni represents… just in my family. Chrissy, Kendal and Alli… all competent and gifted and educated… who each day pour their lives into the lives of their children. Children who, for the most part demand without gratitude.

Much is made of servant leadership. Many books are written. Catalogs of courses offered… but on Wednesday, I thought that perhaps these classes and books and lessons should be taught by Moms. By those who fix a meal, organize a household, change a disgusting diaper, cradle a tiny body, sing a comforting song, mend a scuffed knee… and virtually always without affirmation or thanks.

What Wednesday showed me ever so clearly, is that I have a lot to learn about servant leadership. A lot that a Harvard MBA couldn’t come close to providing.

On Wednesday. With Juni.

Thank you to every Mom who rolled their eyes part way through this piece. You get it. And I honor your sacrifice and love.

Mother’s Day in October. Hats off. Hearts of gratitude.

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